International Youth Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. August 12th is marked worldwide as a day to celebrate youth in our communities. Young people drive our society forward with new technology, media, entertainment and inspiration. Internationally, more and more young children and teenagers are taught to read, given access to the Internet, and given a chance to flourish within and outside their communities. Because of this, the younger generation is not just presently affecting our world but will affect the future too.
Across the world, countries are recognizing the importance of nourishing and growing young citizens into successful adults. Success is not only rated by money and accomplishment but also by happiness and quality of life. Because of this, it is now becoming more and more important to children a solid foundation of values, respect and structure. According to a 2012 study by Princeton University, youth who have adverse childhood experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, abandonment, and emotional and physical neglect, have a higher risk of depression and suicide attempts and are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted diseases. This same study says these children are more likely to turn to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. The authors of Does Child Abuse Cause Crime? find that child maltreatment roughly doubles the probability that an individual engages in many types of crime.
So how do you fix this growing epidemic? This is the question children’s shelters are answering across the nation. According to a report by Paxson and Waldfogel (1999, 2002) abuse and neglect are more common in families and communities of lower socioeconomic status. In neighborhoods like these, when programs for children are implemented and these kids have a safe place to turn to they are more likely to succeed. The positive influence children’s shelters have is spread beyond their residents and into the communities they serve.
The residents at Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter are just like thousands of other foster children throughout the United States who are looking for a safe and nurturing environment where they have the ability to succeed. Here they are able to play after school sports, join clubs, and get part time jobs. They get homework help and medical and mental health care. Our teens learn independent living sills so they are prepared to live on their own after leaving Palmetto Place. They’re surrounded by positive influences who want to see that child or teen be the best versions of themselves.
So how can you get involved in showing these kids they can succeed on this International Youth Day? Making a donation to a local children’s shelter like Palmetto Place is the best way to show these children you care. Here your dollar goes farther, we are tax exempt and often get reduced prices and discounts at stores. Another way you can help is by hosting a donation drive and collecting items from our wish list. The same items that are on your grocery list are on ours, just in a much larger quantity. Check our webpage for volunteer opportunities and other ways you can help out!